Not sure which pattern best suits your needs?
Let’s take a look together.
If a water-friendly carrier is high up on your list of priorities, you will want to check out The Voyager pattern. It contains instructions for both water and non-water styles.
The Voyager is not only a hidden gem, but also one of the most simple carrier patterns to sew making it a great option for those just entering the baby carrier sewing realm.
Not looking for a water carrier pattern?
OFF-THE-SHELF COMMERCIAL CARRIERS
This comes up pretty frequently, so it’s important to note that The Little Pick-Me-Up pattern is probably the closest pattern to a standard commercial soft-structured carrier (SSC) from the collection. It is by far the most loved and purchased Sew Toot pattern- offering 5 body panel sizes, adjustable straps, sleeping hood, and fits the largest range of wearers.
The Riser is a buckle onbuhimo pattern that is used predominantly for back wearing with larger babies and children (6mo.+ for backwearing). This is typically a carrier suitable for advanced wearers and those comfortable with rucks.
It can be a great relief from pregnant bellies because the carrier omits a traditional waistband. Because of that, much of the weight distribution from this particular style rests on the upper torso, back, and shoulders. This is mentioned for those dealing with neck/shoulder disabiltiies, where a more disbursed weight distribution would be preferable (see The Little Pick-Me-Up).
All Sew Toot carrier patterns can be modified to become adjustable. However, only a few offer this functionality by default, so if you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with making these modifications, these will be your best bet:
The Evolution (shown right). This is like a soft-structured carrier with a panel that adjusts horizontally and vertically. It’s great for small infants as they’re growing.
The Versa is a Meh Dai style carrier and with an adjustable panel. Some people are intimidated by this style’s long, wrap straps but they can offer extra weight distribution, which is a serious bonus with growing children.
The Voyager panel can be simply adjusted by rolling the waist. Additionally, with a fabric tie it can be cinched horizontally to fit a smaller infant.
While you could certain add crossable straps to most carriers, The Voyager and The Versa both come equipped with crossable straps by default.
The Voyager’s straps are straight and can be worn crossed or uncrossed.
The Versa’s straps are what is called “padded to wrap” style, which basically means they have shoulder padding that transitions into a wide width fabric length that ties around the body to secure the carrier.
Crossed straps are more of a wearer preference than anything – some people love crossed straps, some people hate them. Crossed straps are typically straight/linear in shape, which makes them more conducive to crossing. While you can technically cross some carrier’s curved straps, it might not be as comfortable or aesthetically pleasing.
I’m often asked which carrier is best suited for an older child and what the weight limit is for a particular carrier.
Weigh limits are going to be widely subjective because that depends on so many factors- you the sewist, the fabric choices, the weight ratings of the webbing and hardware, the seam construction, thread type, etc.
With that said, many of the patterns have toddler and preschool size body panels to ensure better coverage for larger children- LPMU, Riser, Versa, Voyager and Evolution.
(Evolution shown on right).
If you are looking to carry a bigger kid comfortably, my recommendation is The Little Pick-Me-Up. It has 5 body panel sizes (including a toddler and preschool size panel), and the design of the carrier fosters better weight distribution for the wearer, particularly with larger children.
Whether you are wearing a larger child or an infant, it is always important to visually inspect your carrier before each use. Look for split seams, broken threads, fraying webbing, cracked or broken hardware, or any other irregularities.
Once in a while I get asked how someone can test their carrier – if you have a heavy sack of rice laying around (I’m looking at you COVID, haha), you can place into the carrier panel and wear it around for several minutes to make sure that everything is functioning as it should. Rice works great because of how it conforms to a shape, but you can really use a lot of different items laying around the house. The important thing is that you do test your carriers and don’t skimp on visual inspections.
Learn more about testing your carriers.